I am a local resident with a business in the area who occasionally has organised for staff vising the Steelworks to stay at this hotel given its prime location and reasonable fees. Historically many people in Port Talbot have a positive association with the Grand Hotel and want it to be a success. Until the early 1970's it was the best place to stay in the town. Today it suffers only from an older design layout and looks a little tired in a town also lacking in ambition. It has its good points - especially its location opposite the train station. This can sort out confusions when referring to its loction and convenience to a contractor visiting the town. Matter of fact its perfect in every way for this market. The bad side I know from comments of staff and contractors who have stayed there. The Hotel send staff for training and Ive met a few of them when Ive been on a computer course, all of which have been most pleasant.
Its sad then then Im feel aggrieved enough to now leave negative comments. On Saturday 5th March 2011 I visited the public bar to get a beer to meet friends.The bar was unattended and I waited there for a full 5 minutes until I noticed the barmaid/manageress was engrossed in conversation the wrong side of the bar unaware of my presence. I prompted nobody was serving and immediately she responded serving me my pint of the hand pulled beer. Upon sitting down with my friends I started to get concerns on the taste of my pint. It was tangy & barely drinkable. My friends are regulars at the hotel and the conversation turned to suggestions that I should have bought creamflow beer as this is a low seller - maybe that explained the taste or the lines not being clear. As we left for the train I mentioned to the barman my concerns and hand back the last 20% of the glass. I had no initial interest in a refund - just to advise. The lad serving behind the bar was first class, apologetic and suggested I have another pint. My feelings -given the earlier bad service, where I had waited and then been served indifferently a bad pint - I asked for a token "refund of 1/2 the cost". I now accept - maybe this was very small minded of me and perhaps now I wish I had just not mentioned anything the first place.
It was at this point the barman got the manageress. She arrived at the bar ready charged already with a bad customer attitude. "You've drunk the beer now you want a refund ..... Why did you not return it straight away." Of course nothing wrong with her comments just the manner of attitude delivering the response. I was not driven by the fact I wanted a refund - I only considered this at the point the barman offered me another drink - My initial mention only to advise on the possibility it was not a good pint. I now found myself challenged by the manageress who I first encountered not doing their job properly, and she continued to treat my complaint in a confrontational and insulting manner. A more friendly “Im sorry but if you advised earlier I could have changed it but I will however see that the next person who orders a pint will be advised to check the taste”. That would have been suitable enough I guess.
Its not in anyones interest to run down a business in our town rather to be constructive so with this in mind next day Sunday I phoned to speak to the hotel manager. I was answered by the same manageress who upon finding out my reasons continued mockingly “I remember -your the person from yesterday who drank the beer and then wanted a refund.”
I left a message for the owner in Porthcawl with the suggestion that this type of service is bad for business. At one time maybe 5 years in the past I was told the hotel used to turn away single day customers simply because the person in charge did not want the effort of making up the rooms. We got that information from a concerned but demoralised staff member at the time when I tried to make a booking (The hotel phone advertised was not the correct number) I had to visit in person to see how someone was turned away when another colleague was actually staying there in a part empty hotel. The later comment is totally unrelated to the recent experience. Perhaps its time to considert a mystery shopper to identify improvement.The fact that I have taken such effort to complain is not in any way to be vindictive towards the manageress. I want no refund – im just like many in this town who would prefer to see a better mannered environment and a respect towards customers unless of course they merit otherwise.
In closing I would comment that to take a look at the Aberavon Beach Hotel which I would recommend highly especially for holidaymakers and its beachfront location. Another option is the Twelve Knights at Margam or Blancos in town near the bus station.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We are a busy hotel, ideally situated close to various attractions and directly opposite the train station. We host a variety of entertainment including bands and cabarets. We serve delicious home cooked meals and have an adjoining steakhouse. All our rooms are en suite and equipped with tea/coffee making facilities. We have a function room available and we cater to all occasions, we also have a conference room and beer garden. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Grand Hotel Port Talbot, Wales